You should be eating more fat on the keto diet. Find out why. And don’t forget to add these high fat foods for keto to your list!
There’s no other diet out there that encourages eating fat more than keto. On a ketogenic eating plan, fats make up the majority of your daily calories. Combined with carbohydrate restriction, this puts you in ketosis while giving you the energy to thrive.
And of course, there are many other benefits of eating fats, which we’ll get to in a while.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid to eat keto foods high in fat. New keto dieters assume that more fat increases the risk of heart disease or that fat makes you fat(1). These are common myths that can prevent you from thriving and reaching your goals.
In this guide, we aim to discuss these key topics about fats for keto:
- How much you should eat
- Consequences of not getting enough fat
- The difference between good versus bad fats
- Healthy vs unhealthy fatty foods for keto
If you want to overcome any confusion and gain more clarity on fat, consider this your guide. Keep reading.
How Much Fats Should I Eat on Keto?
Properly following the keto diet isn’t just about limiting carbs. What’s also equally important is increasing your fats. With that having said, fats should consist of approximately 55 to 60% of your daily calories(2). Other resources suggest a higher range of 70 to 80% which translates to 165 grams of fat. Here’s what that looks like:
- ¾ cup avocado +
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter +
- ½ cup almonds +
- 7 oz of New York strip steak +
- 8 pieces of bacon +
- 8 oz salmon
Meanwhile, the amount of protein on keto needs to stay moderate.
To get the exact number of grams of fat per day, we highly recommend using a ketogenic macro calculator. Because if you don’t know your macros, you might make the mistake of undereating fats, or overeating them, which can lead to weight gain or a plateau.
Our macro calculator helps especially at the start of your journey where you’re trying to get a good idea of your food portion sizes.
What Happens If You Don’t Eat Enough Fat On Keto?
It’s not that of a big deal if you don’t hit your fat macros especially if you feel satiated and successfully maintained ketosis. However, it becomes a problem if your fat intake is consistently way too low.
A common consequence is increased hunger. Dietary fat increases satiety, which helps reduce cravings or causes you to not overeat(3). So, if you’re constantly hungry on keto, you could be under-eating fat. This will make it hard for you to stick to keto long-term.
Not eating enough high fat keto foods can also lead to hormonal imbalances. Dietary fats help your body produce reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone(4). We’ve briefly mentioned this in our article on keto for women.
Dietary fats also enhance the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K (a.k.a. “Fat-soluble vitamins”). Without the right amounts of fat, you won’t reap the benefits of these vitamins which include a strong immune system, good eyesight, healthy bones and muscles, and reproduction.
Also, the keto diet trains your body to rely on its fat stores for fuel. Eating high-fat foods helps you get used to fat as your energy source instead of carbohydrates.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
While fats are recommended on keto, unfortunately, not all fats are created equal. To achieve optimal health and avoid heart disease, you need the right fats.
Healthy fats for keto are the following:
- Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) – These fats are found in plant-based foods like avocados, olive oil, almonds, and macadamia nuts. MUFAs may help lower your bad LDL cholesterol and aid in weight loss.
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) – Good sources include fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds. PUFAs are essential for muscle and nerve function.
- Saturated fats – These are usually found in animal fats like beef, lamb, and pork. Coconut oil also contains saturated fats. However, it’s best to consume them in moderation to avoid any risk of raising your LDL cholesterol.
Make sure to avoid these unhealthy fats:
- Trans fats or trans fatty acids – These fats are often produced through a process called partial hydrogenation. This entails adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, causing the oil to turn solid at room temperature. Common foods with trans fats include traditional baked goods, cookies, cakes, and microwave popcorn(5).
11 Healthy High Fat Foods For Keto And How to Add Them to Your Diet
A well-formulated keto meal plan includes healthy keto fats from various sources. Whether you’re on the standard, vegetarian, carnivore, paleo, or another type of keto diet, here are some choices for you:
Butter is one of the best high fat low carb foods to include in your diet. We advise that you choose butter with 80% fat and that’s grass-fed. Grass-fed butter contains more omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and help prevent heart disease(6).
You can use grass-fed butter in many ways! Cook your meat and eggs in it or add it to your morning coffee. Butter is also used as a marinade in some keto recipes to add richness to meat. We’ve used it in our pork chops recipe.
2. Olive oil
Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats. It’s a popular oil in many keto kitchens which is why you should not miss it. 1 tablespoon contains 14 grams of fat.
Use a drizzle of olive oil on your lettuce salads. You can also pan fry and saute with it. However, avoid using it for deep frying since this oil has a lower smoke point. Love Mediterranean keto foods? Olive oil makes a great dipping sauce for keto bread!
Avocados are known to help lower your risk of obesity and diabetes. We include avocados on this list of high fat foods for keto diet for a good reason. They’re incredibly nutritious! 1 cup of avocado cubes provides 22g fat, 10g dietary fiber, and vitamins A and C, plus calcium and iron.
4. Fatty fish
If you’re doing the pescatarian type of keto diet, then you must include fish on your keto shopping list. Examples of the best fatty fishes are salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel. Fatty fishes won’t only provide you with omega-3s, but they’re also packed with high-quality protein and iodine.
Try this quick and easy keto meal: Spread salt, pepper, basil, and olive oil on salmon fillets. Bake the fillets for 25 minutes. Serve with cauliflower rice.
If you’re still wondering what fats to eat on keto, don’t skip eggs. Eggs are affordable and versatile, you can eat them in various ways. Scramble, boil, microwave, or poach them. Keto-friendly baked goods like cookies, waffles, and cupcakes also use eggs.
1 large whole egg provides 5g of fat. Eggs also contain important micronutrients like sodium, potassium, vitamin A, and iron.
Coconut is used in a lot of keto products, thanks to its high fat content. 1 cup of shredded coconut meat has 27g of fat which is mostly saturated and only 5g of net carbs. If you live in the tropics, you have access to fresh coconut all year!
Keto-friendly products that feature coconut include coconut flour, coconut cream, and coconut bars. You may use these for delish desserts like fat bombs, brownie bites, and cookies.
7. MCT oil
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. These are good fats for keto that come from coconut or palm kernel oil that undergoes processing. If you’re new to keto, MCT oil is a very helpful supplement for achieving ketosis and fat loss.
Medium-chain triglycerides reach your liver and get converted into ketones. A study showed that taking MCTs increased the ketone body BHB. BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate provides your body with energy when glucose drops(7)(8).
8. Peanut butter
Peanut butter lovers, rejoice. The good news is that peanut butter can be eaten on keto as long as you watch your portion sizes. It’s easy to overeat peanut butter (because it’s so delicious). Not to mention, it’s also high in calories.
1 tablespoon of peanut butter has 8g of fat, 2g of net carbs, and 94 calories. Make sure that you check the label when buying one at the grocery. Avoid peanut butter products with added sugars and too much carbs.
Looking for a delicious way to use peanut butter? Use it as a fat bomb recipe. Try our chocolate peanut butter fat bombs!
9. Fatty nuts and seeds
A lot of nuts and seeds are high in fat, in case you’re wondering. The best options include pecans, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds. These can be eaten straight out of the pack, used as toppings for salads and desserts, and blended into shakes.
You’ll want to be careful with certain nuts like cashews and peanuts. They have higher net carbs. Consume them mindfully if you want to include them in your diet.
10. Full-fat yogurt
Go full-fat, not fat-free. Full-fat yogurt may contain some carbs but the amount isn’t as high as fat-free versions. If you’re not allergic to dairy, this is a great choice.
Yogurt contains several vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus. It’s also a probiotic food that improves your gut health!
11. Bacon without nitrates or preservatives
It’s no secret that bacon is one of the tastiest high fat low carb foods. Almost every keto dieter has bacon in their freezers. The only thing about bacon is that most options contain nitrates and nitrates which potentially cause cancer.
So, choose nitrite and nitrate-free bacon. Make sure that the product has no added sugars. One of the best brand names we recommend is Pederson’s Farms. They use pork raised without antibiotics.
Unhealthy Fats to Avoid on Keto
Now you know the best fats for keto to eat. But what about unhealthy fat sources?
As mentioned earlier, trans fatty acids are to be avoided. Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat. They put you at a higher risk of heart disease by increasing your LDL cholesterol. This bad cholesterol causes the hardening of your arteries.
Keep away from the following foods that contain trans fats:
- Traditional baked goods
- Microwave popcorn
- French fries
Vegetable oils are also to be avoided since they are high in omega-6. Too much omega-6 negatively affects your cells. It may contribute to inflammation in your body. Here are examples of vegetable oils to avoid:
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Soybean oil
Choose healthy fats on keto to successfully reach ketosis, stay satiated, and have optimal health. There’s no reason to fear fat as long as you know how much to eat and the right options. Whole foods are always the best.
Finally, if you learned from this article, we would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to provide feedback in the comments section below.